2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard

Joseph Phelps

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Average Score 90.0

The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) achieved nearly 15% natural alcohol, and is aged 24 months in 100% new French oak. It has Pessac-Leognan-like aromas of charcoal, scorched earth, creme de cassis, and a distinct loamy soil/earthy character as well as minerality. Full-bodied, powerful and masculine with mouthstaining levels of extract in addition to mouthwatering levels of tannin, this 2010 needs to be forgotten for at least a decade, and drunk over the following 30-40 years. It could be a 50-year wine. ||All of Joseph Phelps’ Sonoma Coast Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs will be included in the Sonoma report in the December, 2013 issue. One of the visionaries in California’s Rhone Ranger movement that began a quarter of a century ago, Phelps continues to focus on their Syrah program. I have mixed emotions about that because they made some wonderful wines from some other Rhone varietals in the past under the terminated Mistral label. On the website, I will be posting one of the most historical vertical tastings I have ever done, that of Joseph Phelps’ proprietary red Bordeaux blend called Insignia, which was one of California’s first proprietary red Meritage wines launched in 1974. While visiting this winery in early September, I had the privilege of tasting every vintage from 1974 to 2012. This has always been a remarkable wine and sadly I am old enough to remember the 1974, to which I gave a great rating, but then suggested it be drunk within 10-12 years. I never thought it would last. Of course, it turned out to be one of the great mature wines of the vertical tasting, but more on that on the web site. The five vintages of Insignia which consumers should be keeping an eye on are 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Here are my notes on those wines which are either on the market or soon will be. By the way, the production of Insignia over the last 15-20 years has ranged from a low of 10,000-12,000 cases to a whopping 20,000 cases, often with the highest production levels in some of the greatest years. There are usually around 750 to 1,300 cases of the Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard. Usually 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, it is fashioned from the red soils of the Oakville hillsides (a spectacular sight as you drive south on the Silverado Trail).||Tel. (800) 707-5789 Wine Advocate.October, 2013

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